The San Jose Earthquakes currently have the best record in the MLS. It just so happens that the team with the second best record in the MLS also hails from the Western Division and is set to play at Buck Shaw Stadium against the Quakes this season. The Quakes have played Real Salt Lake twice this season and both times walked away with the full three points, winning 2-1 and 3-1 in April and June.
San Jose enters the third and final match between the division rivals without a whole lot of momentum having gone 1-2-1 in their last four matches while doubling their season total in losses in the process. Luckily for the Quakes, Real Salt Lake is not playing at top form either, matching the Quakes record over their past four games at 1-2-1. Unluckily for the Quakes, Real Salt Lake stands only one point behind them in the tables. A loss at home will also mean a loss of first place in the Western Conference.
A win for the Quakes would go a long way towards their goal of winning the Western Conference. It would mean a season sweep of Real Salt Lake, and give them a four point lead going into the last two games before the All Star break. Those games come against the worst team in the west, FC Dallas and the fourth place Vancouver Whitecaps. A win against Salt Lake followed by two games where the Quakes can and should see results, could line the Quakes up for a big lead going into the All Star game.
For more on the Earthquakes, check out Quake Rattle and Goal.